AL Public Health Department: Madison Co. flu shot clinics could be diminished this year

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MADISON COUNTY, Al. (WHNT) -- Some are concerned about free flu shot clinics in Madison County.  But, the question isn't whether there will be free flu shots distributed.  Rather, it's a question of where the clinics will be held.

Commissioner Roger Jones says he was told there wouldn't be a clinic at county district offices this year, as there has been in years past.  That's something that worries him.

"The Health Department gave over 500 shots at this district last year," he said.  "That's 500 people who won't be able to go [get shots here]."

Health Department officials say it's too early to comment on whether there will or won't be clinics in certain areas because they don't yet have a schedule made.

They do plan on giving vaccines though.  A shipment of around 2,500 doses arrived late last Friday.

It's a goal to have clinics around the county, but representatives from the Alabama Department of Public Health say it is possible there will only be clinics at the Madison County Department of Health building.

They cite a shortage of clinic staff as a reason why.

While Health Department officials would not confirm whether this is a direct result of their budget being slashed by $200,000, Jones believes it's part of the ripple effect.

"They can't spend money they don't have.  I think they really needed this money and I'm sorry they didn't get it," he said.

Health Department officials were not ready to discuss the effect the budget cuts have on their staff and operations Monday.

Public Health officials say a schedule including clinic dates and times could be available to media as early as Tuesday.  Because the shipments of vaccines arrived later than planned, that schedule hasn't been finalized.